April marked the 16th month of the current recession, matching the length of the longest recession since the Great Depression. “This report does not provide the hopeful signs many are looking for given that the unemployment rate is now higher than what has been expected and private sector jobs continue to crater,” said Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute. The April 2009 employment picture, released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that while the pace of job loss is exhibiting signs of slowing – losing 539,000 in April compared to an average of 707,000 per month in the first quarter — today’s labor market is still losing jobs at a breathtaking pace. Furthermore, most of what gains the labor market saw in April were due to the hiring of temporary workers in preparation for the 2010 Census, as government employment increased by 72,000 while the private sector shed 611,000 jobs. The unemployment rate jumped up dramatically, from 8.5% to 8.9%, as an additional 563,000 workers were added to the jobless rolls in April. “Today’s employment report shows that while the pace of the hemorrhaging of jobs may be slowing, the crisis in the labor market continues to deepen at a stunning rate,” said EPI economist Heidi Shierholz.